The Freestyle BivyPack has been developed by a traveler who's been on the road since 2007 and a thru hiker who's been fabricating obsessively ultralight gear for years.
Who it's for
For the traveler that doesn't want to have to stay in a hostel or hotel every night, or just always have the option of going on multi day hikes and camping trips.
For avid section and thru hikers that live with a backpack on, it should feel invisible as you take in the beauty of the trail and comfortable at the end of the day.
I'd say homeless people, but the fact that you have the Freestyle BivyPack means your home is ready to roll out at a moment's notice.
For preppers and survivalists who want a bug-out bag that's not only lightweight, but also a shelter.
It's an ultralight, comfortable backpack fit for the trail or the city, your carry-on when flying or thrown in the back of the pickup truck you hitched a ride with. It's shelter from the rain, bugs, wind and other elements. You're now more versatile and your options are open.
How it works
The bivy extends from a wrapped hidden pocket in the collar of the backpack, the pack frame slides out to now function as tent poles that create some breathing room around your head while blocking out mosquitoes. This space was designed specifically to make use of your rain jacket, sliding your sleeves through the tent poles locks it down to keep you dry during a windy downpour.
The whole setup weighs about 1.5 pounds and takes just a couple minutes or less to transform between backpack to bivy and vise-versa.
Thru-hikers love it's efficiency, world travelers love the simplicity (plus it's flight carry-on size) and survivalists have found their new standard bug out bag.
You'd want this backpack even if it didn't transform into a bivy.
We used a combination of the best fabrics available, balancing ultralight, waterproof and durability (we'll have several colors for our backers to choose from as well). Besides the stretch pockets, the primary exposed area of the backpack is constructed with 300 denier diamond weave ripstop polyester - it's lightweight, waterproof and durable enough to hold up in real life travel and hiking. There's even a reward for those who are ultra-obsessive ultralight - a BivyPack made with incredibly lightweight cuben fiber.
The frame is made from strong and lightweight carbon fiber, it curves to form a trampoline style back panel creating airflow between your back and the pack (no sweaty back!), then bends just enough to mold to your body and absorb shock, allowing you to adjust the fit perfectly to your particular torso size.
There's 40 liters of primary capacity, plus another 10 liters with the stretchy pockets, that's enough for long distance hiking or your next world tour. The main compartment of the bag is sealed with a roll top closure and is waterproof - no need for a pack cover with this bag, your gear stays dry and the pack itself dries quickly.
Additionally there are two deep side pockets and a big front stretchy pocket for items you might need quickly, like a rain jacket or water filter.
The straps are cushioned and comfy, a hip belt (not pictured) and chest strap provide even more comfort. Side compression straps can be tightened as well when your pack is at minimum capacity.
Measuring 7" x 13" x 21" this bag meets standards as a flight carry-on. Since the frame is removable, it can be crossed and rearranged to even qualify as a "personal item" on even the stingiest airlines (I'm looking at you Spirit!).
The bivy is rolled into the collar of the backpack, you'd maybe never notice the secret double life the pack has been living...
"Weight, utility and comfort is the magic trio that makes this new Kickstarter project pretty unique." - Teton Gravity Research
The most basic bivy sacks are simply rainproof bags that slide over your sleeping bag to keep you dry. They're meant to be lightweight and simple. That's great, but a hybrid has risen between these basic bags and full on tents which bring the best of both worlds. The Freestyle BivyPack is a shining example of this trend.
The upper body portion of the bivy extends out from the collar of the backpack, the frame of the pack then slides out to becomes the poles that you give you ample space around your head and shoulders. This area is surrounded by noseeum bug netting so you can breathe easy, reduce moisture buildup and allow you to see the scenery around you and the stars above. Mosquitoes are jerks, keep 'em out.
Don't have a tarp? That's no problem, the Freestyle BivyPack was designed to take advantage of the gear you're already carrying. Take your rain jacket and slide the sleeves through the bivy poles to lock it in place, now it's doing double duty while your sleeping as a rain fly, keeping you dry even in windy rainstorm conditions.
The bivy can be virtually invisible when you're not using it, tucked away in the collar of your backpack you may forget you had a shelter ready to go. So go ahead and travel the world, couch surf and stay in hostels if you want, but when you need it, it's there.
"... there is something to be said for the individual that follows through, not just with the idea but a sewn, tested, usable product." - Backpackers.com
I (Kenny) started traveling in 2007 and have been on the move ever since. No home base, no rent, just a lot of hiking, hitchhiking, the odd job here and there and a whole lot of great adventures along the way.
Living out of my backpack for this long has made me conscious of every ounce I carry, so I'm constantly shedding items I don't need, upgrading to lighter materials and removing redundancies by finding multiple uses for single pieces of gear.
The lighter my pack got the more comfortable I felt hiking for longer, whether on the trail or around a new city. My sense of freedom grew more and more.
Through all the downsizing and streamlining there was one big dream that I kept sketching and thinking about: combining my backpack and bivy sack. Backpacks and bivys can be made from similar materials, account for a good percentage of the total bulk and weight you carry, and you never use both at the same time.
I've carried different bivys in my travels - they're a simple lightweight addition that provides an incredible degree of freedom. Besides hiking and traditional camping, the bivy offers an alternative to hotels, hostels and couch surfing when traveling. A bivy offers a way to sleep just about anywhere, even in the rain or in the midst of mosquitoes. Also, unlike a tent, you feel more in tune with your surroundings.
In 2013 I met James, a hiker from Georgia who had founded Helium Hiking Equipment, an outlet for his passion of making obsessively ultralight gear. A thru hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2014 stoked the fire even more, giving him more experience and inspiration.
He loved the idea of the Freestyle BivyPack, so finally I hitched on down to Georgia again to start making it a reality, a true all-in-one waterproof backpack and shelter that could stand alone as either while being insanely light.
Weighing just over a pound it's lighter than most any comparable backpack or bivy you'd find in the store, while functioning as both. There are no compromises either; if this was just a backpack you'd wear it on every trip. If it was simply a bivy it would be your go-to for solo travel. It's both, and it's awesome.
I've taken our prototypes exclusively on trips hitchhiking and bussing through South America, camping in rainy Ireland, buggy Scotland, it's been my carry-on for flights, and by my side hitchhiking in zigzags all across the United States this year.
The thing is a miracle, an ultralight backpack and a comfortable shelter to sleep in, transforming back and forth effortlessly. Now I don't just live out of my backpack, I sometimes live in it.
We're excited about it, and even more so to now share it.
Usable Backpack Capacity: 50L
Total weight (backpack + bivy + frame/poles): 25oz
Materials: 300 denier polyester diamond weave ripstop (backpack body), SilNylon (bivy roof), SilPoly (bivy floor)
Frame material: Carbon fiber
Bivy length (head to toe): 7.5 feet (Accommodates people up to 6'6")
Bivy width (shoulders): 30 inches
We'll ask everyone their torso size before we ship and send you your appropriately sized pack. Each pack can then be adjusted several inches in either direction as well by tightening the frame yourself, so once you get your pack you can dial it in to perfection.
We appreciate you helping us get this project off the ground! Contribute what you'd like and check out the rewards, including the Freestyle BivyPack itself, ready to be shipped to your door by April anywhere in the world.
(Scroll up and look at the right side of the page to actually pledge and get one of these rewards!)
2007: I leave New York and start traveling, living out of a backpack full time, ideas start to arise...
2012: Meanwhile, James starts Helium Hiking Equipment.
2013: James and I meet for first time in Georgia, he and his girlfriend Lizzy are set for a big trip and he's been honing in on his ultralight gear fabrication. We talk travel, hiking and gear, including the idea for the BivyPack.
2014: James and Lizzy hike the Appalachian Trail, it's an indescribable type of awesome. Now James is even more focused on making lighter and better gear.
January 2015: I hitchhike on down to Augusta and we start prototyping, we take our first version of the pack out on a small section of the AT.
February 2015: James whips up a second prototype based on our notes in time for my trip down to South America.
March 2015: After about six weeks of travel with the bag, I come back to Augusta and we make some more improvements.
November 2015: I spend several months overseas and in the US hitchhiking, hiking, camping and otherwise living exclusively with the BivyPack. Based on this experience I return to Augusta so James and I can improve the design even more.
December 2015: Launch Kickstarter campaign! The Freestyle BivyPack has reached the point of universal awesomeness. All we need now is backing to support some further fine tuning and testing, and the funding to get everything in place to make these for hikers and travelers everywhere.
January 2016: With your excitement, we'll reach our goal! We can now start getting our gear and materials in place.
February 2016: Crushing out BivyPacks, escaping for hiking trips to maintain our sanity.
March 2016: Begin shipping out BivyPacks to all you good people.
April 2016: Finish shipments, start hiking!
Thanks everyone, check the rewards and pledge what you'd like. We'll see you on the trail, we'll see you on the road, good times!
Risks and challenges
Our goal is to get Freestyle BivyPacks (and other rewards) out to people as soon as possible, ideally in time for spring hiking season. While this may be a challenge, we're more than confident we'll be able to make final improvements and do final testing as well as personalize everyone's packs in time. Have no fear!
LOOK AND FEEL
Based on your feedback and some ideas we've been developing there will be some improvements made that can possibly change the look and feel of the pack. What this means is that the final shipped BivyPacks might not look *exactly* the same as the pictures and the specs may be slightly different. This is a good thing! Whatever changes are made will be improvements and mostly fine tuning, either in terms of convenience, weight savings, functionality or general awesomeness. So if you like what you see, you'll like what you get even more, and in fact our backers will have some choices in personalizing their packs. Good times!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)